“Brand safety” has been a buzzword among marketers for sometime now, with some big name companies even adding "Brand Safety Officers" to their C-Suites. But what is it? Brand safety, in simplest terms, is the strategy and protocols in place to ensure digital marketing placements (such as ads) appear in the appropriate context. The goal is for ads to always show amongst acceptable content so as to not harm the overall brand.
Sound confusing? Let me explain using real-life context. If you were a fast food chain, you wouldn’t want an ad for your new hamburger to play on YouTube for a video about a new dieting fad just like how an airline wouldn’t want their ad to appear in an article about a plane crash.
Today, when a company’s reputation is more valuable and fragile than ever, brand safety is incredibly important. According to a study conducted by the CMO Council in late 2017, 67 percent of marketers stated that negative context from content surrounding their digital ads had damaged perceptions of their brand qualities and values. It’s not just large brands either, small to mid-size companies are also vulnerable to brand safety hiccups; with even a bad Yelp review damaging a business' bottomline.
So, how can you ensure brand safety as you promote your business digitally? To begin, consider what content and topics your brand wants to shy away from. While considering this, make sure to consider your targeted audience and what they might be sensitive to. This is a proactive way to make sure you don’t become poorly associated or linked to content that may damage the overall brand.
Thanks to a growing number of digital tools, there are various protocols available to keep your brand’s reputation safe by avoiding specific types of content. Through Ads Manager on Facebook, advertisers have the ability to manually opt out of their advertisements appearing in a set of predetermined categories, including gambling, dating, tragedy and sensitive social issues like religion, guns, and immigration. Facebook also gives you the option to create “block lists”, which allows advertisers to block their ads from appearing on certain pages, websites or apps.
If you run Search or YouTube campaigns, Google AdWords has similar features through Managed Placements.
It's also important to remember the value of reviews and spreading of information when thinking about brand safety and reputation management. Many consumers now look towards peer reviews via social platforms to evaluate a company before making purchasing decisions. With endless information at the consumer's fingertips, it's important to proactively scan your business' reputation online, whether it be making sure your ad placement is safe or checking what people are saying about your business on social media.Overall, proactive brand safety measures can be crucial to the success of your brand, and therefore the success of your business. For more information on brand safety, click here.